The American Red Cross joins forces with Round It Up America (RIUA) in an innovative charitable giving program endorsed by the National Restaurant Association that provides restaurant patrons with the opportunity to “round up” their credit card bill, automatically contributing to Red Cross Disaster Relief and other worthy causes.
“Round It Up America shows that when people come together to help, the smallest gifts become a force powerful enough to make a huge difference for those whose lives have been devastated by disaster,” said Neal Litvack, Chief Development Officer at the American Red Cross. “Thanks to partnering restaurants in this program and patrons who donate after dining, the Red Cross is able to provide critical disaster relief when and where it’s needed most.”
Ten percent of all RIUA donations are being allocated to Red Cross Disaster Relief that helps provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance to people affected by disasters—natural and man-made—ranging from local home fires to major tornadoes, wildfires, floods and hurricanes that impact communities across the U.S. each and every year.
In 2009, Harald Herrmann, President and CEO of Yard House Restaurants, and Jennifer Weerheim, Vice President of Marketing for Yard House, launched Round It Up America with Yard House as the first participating restaurant chain. Yard House raised approximately $350,000 in the first full year. Today, there are participating restaurants, termed Mission Partners, in 16 states from Massachusetts to Hawaii, raising an average of $20 a day. Building a national philanthropic movement within the restaurant industry, Round It Up America® is poised to raise millions of dollars for charity.
“We encourage our restaurants and patrons to support Round It Up America® because it’s a solution for giving,” says Jennifer Weerheim. “We’ve found that people are more than willing to donate on a micro level, giving just a little, which adds up to a lot over the course of a year. A little truly does go a long way. The heprogram allows us to contribute to causes like the Red Cross that are near and dear to our hearts.”
Both RIUA Co-Founders traveled to Joplin, Missouri to donate tornado relief funds last year in-person. And after witnessing Red Cross efforts first hand, they knew then that they wanted to partner with the Red Cross and allocate a percentage of all RIUA donations to Red Cross Disaster Relief.
Recipient charities will receive donations quarterly with some 75 percent of all donations going to Mission Partner-selected charities. Ten percent of all donations automatically benefit American Red Cross Disaster Relief and eight percent support the National Restaurant Association and State Restaurant Association Educational Foundations’ ProStart® Programs.
The Red Cross is also administering the program on a national basis, providing the necessary resources to cultivate partners, process gifts and report on the program’s success, and will receive an additional four percent of funds for this administrative support.
Restaurant companies with an American presence can obtain information to apply to participate in Round It Up America via rounditupamerica.org.
Current RIUA Mission Partners (most with multiple locations) include: Yard House Restaurants; Lucille’s Smokehouse BBQ; Hof’s Hut; Cohn Restaurant Group; Cameron Mitchell Restaurants; Famous Dave’s; Rusty Bucket; and Maria’s Italian Kitchen. A list of participating locations can be found at rounditupamerica.org.